July 23rd- swifts moving south west

Jonathan Pomroy

Early this morning I noticed a substantial movement of swifts. They were flying high, slowly and in complete silence and were well spaced out across the sky. Such a far cry from the impossibly tight, fast and noisy formations we associate with swifts. All were heading south west. I saw several hundred but there must have been many more. I would guess this was a weather movement, probably mainly non breeding birds undertaking a detour to avoid the rain or perhaps these were birds actually beginning their journey to Africa? There was something quite moving about this sighting, it filled me with wonder about where they were going and why they were going there. Where had they come from? But always in my mind the thought that they will be gone soon. 

It rained for much of the day, but in drier periods this morning it felt warm and the…

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July 24th- swifts and house martins

Jonathan Pomroy

We are fortunate to have a pair of house martins nesting on the back of our house. They are in an artificial nest only a few feet from our pair of swifts. The two species seem to co exist extremely well. I have lived with both species before and observed that they actually benefit from being together. Away from the nest they have a lot in common, both prefering to feed high on aerial insects when the weather allows. In colder or wet weather the two often feed low over water.

There is another benefit that I have noticed on many occasions. When house martins confidently swoop down to the eaves non breeding swifts often follow. This can really encourage a swift prospecting session. Though it can then lead to occasional mild conflict when a non breeding swift lands on the house martin’s nest. I saw this today. We had…

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What’s Wrong Here? A Blog Quiz-

Michael Hagedorn

If you see a pine with lushly growing moss on top of the soil media, like the one below, alarm bells should be going off. As pines generally don’t like overly wet soil media, lush moss is a lucky clue to adjust your pine care. And if things are really soggy, you might even see algae and liverwort growing on the surface, so those are double alarm bells.

If you see any of these indicators of high moisture, what things might you check for, and then adjust? There are four main ones, but you might think of others.

A lodgepole pine with lush moss, a clue something is awry…

Algae on soil surface, a worse clue

Liverwort growing in a pot, another of the bad clues

For the many benefits of moss in bonsai practice, please check out Chapter 37 of Bonsai Heresy: 56 Myths Exposed Using Science and Tradition.

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Jaboticaba, or jabuticaba, or Plinia cauliflora, or maybe Myrciaria cauliflora

Adam's Art and Bonsai Blog

I once got in trouble for questioning the name of this tree. But I’m a questioner. I hit hard sometimes with my “but why?” comments.

I mean, to elucidate the problem with the trees nomenclature, look it up. There are several genus’ with the common name jaboticaba (the genus is the first word in the binomial name of an organisms. Like a house cat is “Felis catus”, the genus is Felis, the species is catus. Binomial: 2 names). And of course, jaboticaba is the Spanish spelling. Jabuticaba is the Portuguese spelling, from whence the trees originate. To reference the title, both of the genus’ Plinia and Myrciaria are in the myrtle family, just to confuse us all. And it seems all the trees commonly called jaboticaba have the flowers and fruit grow on the stem or trunk of the tree as opposed to from a bud or growing tip on…

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